Vivo X20A Review

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Vivo announced the X20A last year, a device that falls into the premium mid-range segment.  We already finished taking the phone for a full spin to see how it fares. It may not be available in the country as of the moment but is it worth the purchase? Let’s start!

Before we begin, check out our unboxing and hands-on of the Vivo X20A here.

Design and Construction

On the get-go, the X20A looks like it’s a “long” smartphone due to its slim bezels and 6-inch display. The device has an aluminum frame that looks simplistic, yet, premium due to its black color, which I personally like. Fingerprint marks and smudges shouldn’t be a problem as the materials in this phone are surprisingly resistant to them.

The front panel houses the 12MP front camera, call speaker, LED flash, and LED notification light above. The X20A uses on-screen navigations to maximize space and shorten the chin, which is always a nice touch.

The left side contains the hybrid SIM tray while on the right are the power and volume buttons with a metallic finish. The buttons have good tactility and are easily pressed.

We didn’t find anything at the top except for the noise-canceling microphone, however, the micro USB and 3.5mm audio ports, along with the loudspeaker and main microphone are residing at the bottom part, making it a little crowded.

Unlike the Vivo X21 UD, the X20A doesn’t use an under-display fingerprint scanner since it came out earlier. So, it uses the traditional rear-mounted scanner. The 12MP + 5MP dual rear cameras with LED flash can also be found sitting just above it.

In the hands, the Vivo X20A feels really slim and lightweight, making it easy to use even with just one hand. It also has this solid and premium feel with a matte finish that’s easy to grip.

Display and Multimedia

The Vivo X20A comes with a 6-inch 18:9 Super AMOLED display with a 2160 x 1080 resolution. The first thing that we noticed is that it is vibrant and has a good color reproduction. It gives off darker blacks and brighter whites which adds depth when viewing pictures, videos or even playing games. Viewing angles are also good while using the phone under direct sunlight didn’t pose any problems as it is usable even at 80% brightness.

The loudspeaker is crisp and clear. The highs and mids blend well while lows are also present which is not that common in smartphones. Sounds are still present at max volume despite being in a noisy room. Overall, the display and audio quality exceeded our expectations.

OS, UI, and Apps

The unit we received comes with a China ROM that runs on Funtouch 3.2 which is based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The UI is somewhat complex and messy due to the numerous pre-installed apps and bloatware that are in Chinese characters. By default, there are no app drawers so all of the applications are just laying around the home screen. It took some time familiarizing with how it works since we’re used with global ROMs.

There are no pre-installed Google applications in here, instead, Vivo has their own app and theme store which is still in Chinese characters. Just imagine our confusion whenever we try to download things online.

Some of the features include Smart Motion (Motion gestures), Smart Split (Screen Splitting), Smart Click (Customizable application executions when holding the Volume – button). Pre-installed applications include WeChat, QQ, Weibo, Children (for child lock), i Manager (to handle phone optimizations), and a bunch of apps with Chinese characters.

Camera

The Vivo X20A features a 12MP f/1.8 main rear camera and a 5MP secondary with LED flash while the front is a 12MP f/2.0 shooter, also with a LED flash. The camera UI is simple enough, located on top is the immediate options like HDR, flash, portrait, bokeh, other features, and options. For the rear, other modes are Ultra HD, Powerpoint(PPT), Professional, Slow, and Time-Lapse. Users can choose from Face Beauty, Taking Photos, and Videos under the default mode.

Photos have decent color accuracy and dynamic range under natural lighting, however, highlights tend to get blown when shooting under strong lights. For low-light conditions, images have acceptable noise and muddy detail but are still usable for social media posting.

Features on the front camera include, flash, HDR, portrait, group Selfie, Face Beauty, and Taking Photos. There are three options under Face Beauty — Buffing, Skin Tone, and Whitening. These further enhanced our selfie experience.

The same results can be said for the produced images in the front camera. Details are clear and color accurate under good lighting while low-light shots tend to get really muddy and noisy. One thing that we noticed is its Beautification, which can get to a point where our face almost got erased. (check image below)

Videos can be recorded at 4K resolution at 30fps in mp4 file format. One thing that we immediately noticed is that it has stabilization which helps the users with shaky hands when recording. Check out our night and day sample videos.

Performance and Benchmarks

The Vivo X20A is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 processor, an Adreno 512 GPU, and 4GB of RAM. For a premium mid-range smartphone, this setup is already above average and it can perform daily tasks with ease such as browsing, file transferring, multi-tasking, and rendering. We didn’t notice any stutters while executing applications or tasks, which is good.

In terms of unlocking features, we were quite impressed especially with the face unlock. The X20A can detect our face even at low-light conditions or even when there is only the backlight of the phone. The fastest time that it unlocked was around 0.1-0.3 seconds which is relatively fast compared to other smartphones with the same feature.

Here are the benchmark scores:

Benchmark Tool Score
AnTuTu v7 135,778
3D Mark -1,349 (SSE – OpenGL ES 3.1)
-1,055 (SSE – Vulkan)
Geekbench 4.2 -1,616 (Single-Core)
-5,841 (Multi-Core)
-5,491 (RenderScript)
PC Mark -6,993 (Work 1.0)
-6,212 (Work 2.0)
AndroBench -303.78 MB/s (Sequential Read)
-220.86 MB/s (Sequential Write)

Games such as PUBG Mobile, NBA 2K18, Rules of Survival, Asphalt 8 should not pose any problems even at high graphics settings, however, be wary that the X20A does warm up fast when doing heavy tasks such as gaming or shooting photos/videos.

Connectivity and Call Quality

The device is equipped with basic connectivity features like dual-SIM with LTE connectivity, WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, and GPS. NFC and Infrared are not present but considering that it already has a good performance, it does not bother us that much. Mobile data is fast as it has LTE Cat. 12 while GPS works well with apps like Google Maps, Waze, and Grab. Lastly, Call quality is good, both the receiving and calling end can be heard loud and clear.

Battery Life

The Vivo X20 A carries a 3,245mAh battery which is a decent amount. What surprised us is its battery life, in our standard video loop test (playing a 1080p MP4 video in airplane mode at 50% brightness and volume w/ earphones) it lasted for 16 Hours and 40 Minutes which is above average. This can be attributed to its Super AMOLED display and Snapdragon 660 processor which are power efficient components.

Note: We didn’t have a yielded result for the PC Mark Battery Test as it crashes halfway.

It lasts at most 2 days when used for tasks like messaging, casual browsing, shooting photos, and playing games, which is an impressive feat. We also recalled the device being on standby for 2 days straight and it only went down to 60% from 80%.

Charging the device only took 1 hour and 3 minutes which is already faster than most smartphones out on the market.

Conclusion

The Vivo X20A is a worthy device for those who plan to buy a premium mid-range smartphone. It has a vibrant display, above average performing processor and GPU, decent camera performance, great face unlock implementation and a long-lasting battery. One minor issue that we had is that it still carries a microUSB port, but that’s not much of a deal breaker to most. Other than that, this phone gets our praise for being well-built and having good overall features and performance.

One deal breaker though is the price, if it exceeds the Php22,000 mark, it could easily be beaten by devices with higher specs. Well, it’s not available in the country yet but it’s priced around USD450 or approximately Php24,000 which is dangerous since there are already flagship smartphones sitting in this price range.

Vivo X20 specs:
  • 6.01-inch Super AMOLED full HD+ display, 1,080×2,160 pixels
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 2.2GHz octa-core processor
  • Adreno 512 GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • 4G LTE Cat. 12
  • WiFi 802.11b/g/n//ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 12 MP f/1.8 main and 5MP rear camera
  • 12 MP f/2.0 front-facing camera
  • Fingerprint Scanner
  • Face unlock
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • 3,245mAh Li-Ion battery w/ fast charging
  • 155.85 x 75.15 x 7.2mm (dimensions)
  • 159 grams (weight)
What we liked:
  • Simplistic design
  • Slim
  • Lightweight
  • Vibrant display
  • Decent audio quality
  • Above average CPU and GPU performance
  • Fast face unlock feature
  • Can shoot 4k videos
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Fast charging
What we didn’t:
  • Micro USB port
  • Hybrid SIM setup
  • Warms up easily when playing heavy games
  • Beautification tends to get unrealistic
  • China ROM is confusing due to bloatware

(yugatech.com, http://bit.ly/2Nk3jPH)

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